The Twinsburg Banking Company

It was almost an entire century after its inception before Twinsburg had its first bank. In 1911, E. O. Cristy made it widely known that he intended to open a bank, but few took his claim seriously. Sadly, he was not able to see his dream realized, as the bank he had worked to create opened a few months after his death. Cristy’s grit and determination paid off posthumously when the Twinsburg Banking Company finally opened on November 11, 1912, with C. E. Riley acting as president. The first customer was A. J. Brown, who stood patiently at the front door awaiting the initial opening of the bank in hopes he would have the honor of opening the first account for his grandson, J. C. Leland Brown.

The early years were difficult for Twinsburg’s fledgling bank. Sparse growth was a major concern. Adding to the instability of the bank, cashiers came and went at an accelerated pace. By the beginning of 1931, it was uncertain how much longer the Banking Company could remain in operation if business didn’t improve considerably. In March of that year a young banker named Lester W. Roxbury was hired as cashier. The hiring of Mr. Roxbury proved to be the elixir the ailing bank desperately needed. The young firebrand fearlessly forged a brave new path for the financial institution. No task was too small or great for Mr. Roxbury to perform if it would save the bank a dollar or add a dollar to its coffers. In just four years, under the helm of Roxbury, the bank’s resources grew from $241,000 to $350,000.

Growth and prosperity continued, and in early 1946 the Twinsburg Banking Company, which by this time had been dubbed “the biggest little bank in Ohio,” broke ground for construction of a large addition and a complete remodeling of their building. Resources had to climbed to the once inconceivable sum of $3,596,000. By the late 1950s the bank outgrew its original structure and a more modern building was constructed, featuring fourteen teller windows, a new safe-deposit vault, an employee lounge, and air conditioning.

Prosperity is not eternal, however, especially for the little man, or in this case the little bank. The rise of corporate banks rendered small banks such as the Twinsburg Banking Company nearly obsolete. On December 31, 1984, the Twinsburg Banking Company merged with First Merit Bank of Akron, signaling the end of little banks in Twinsburg.

Twinsburg National Bank Robbery

How many bank robberies need to be committed by the same team to constitute a crime spree? At least four, according to Summit County Sheriff Pat Hutchinson. Still, Hutchinson and his detectives had their hands full when four banks across the region, including the Sharon, Peninsula, Bedford, and Twinsburg banks, were held up over the course of several months in 1920.

On March 6, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Robbers made an unsuccessful attempt to blow the safe in the Sharon Center Banking Company.” The modus operandi was nitroglycerin, a smokeless yet highly volatile explosive. A neighbor of the bank was awakened around three a.m. by a noise he assumed came from his barn, but most likely was the detonation of the nitro next door.

On September 16, four men again attempted to blow open the safe maintained by Sharon Center Banking. The bandits escaped due to the late hour and the use of mattresses to muffle the explosion. Nearby residents, dressed in their bedtime attire, rushed to the scene, reporting the explosion as having occurred around four a.m. One of the would-be bank robbers took the idea of a clean getaway quite literally and washed up before making his exit. Detectives located the latent fingerprint in a bar of soap. Fingerprinting was still a relatively new science, having been introduced to the United States in New York late in 1905, just fifteen years prior to the robbery streak that gripped Northeast Ohio.

On October 13, 1920, the band of bandits struck closer to home. Nitroglycerine and basement walls seldom encounter one another, though this seemed to be a more common occurrence than one might suppose. The thieves were credited with taking $1,250 from the Twinsburg Banking Company. Adjusted for inflation, that 1920 figure would be worth close to $15,000 in 2016. Sheriff Hutchinson and a team of special detectives vowed to apprehend the culprits, claiming, as reported in the Plain Dealer, “to have evidence that the Twinsburg job was done by the same gang of highwaymen which robbed the Peninsula Bank several months ago, the Sharon Bank only a few weeks ago, and which also had been operating on Sherbondy Hill [Akron] in holding up pedestrians and motorists.”

Greed begets more greed, and too much greed almost always ends poorly for those involved. Such was the case for the band of bank bandits and their legendary lucky streak. A rain of bullets would end in bloodshed on October 22, 1920, following an attempt on the Bedford branch of the Cleveland Trust Company. The Plain Dealer reported: “One bandit was killed. Three other robbers, including George ‘Jiggs’ Losteiner, much wanted crook, were seriously wounded. A bank clerk was shot and is near death. This occurred in a battle in which more than 200 shots were exchanged between the bandits and citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns.”

Jiggs Losteiner’s legal problems only escalated, as charges of murder were brought against him a month later. According to the Sandusky Star-Journal, Jiggs was under the guard of one hundred Cleveland police and deputy sheriffs for the murder of Patrolman Patrick Gaffney, two years earlier. A plea of not guilty was entered for the murder, though his guilt in the armed bank robbery was affirmed.

The Plain Dealer published the following list of men shot in the final robbery:

Albert Joyce, alias Johnson,
Killed. Said by police to have a
long police record.

George (“Jiggs”) Losteiner,
wounded , not seriously. A noto-
rious crook and pal of John Gro-
gan, who is serving a life sentence
for the murder of an East Cleve-
land policeman.

Harry Stone, wounded, not se-
riously. Alleged by police to have
a long criminal record and only re-
cently released after a term of six
years in Leavenworth penitentiary.

Unidentified Man, wounded se-
verely. Police are comparing Ber-
tillon records in an effort to identify him.

Four Men, who escaped, all believed
to have been wounded. Bank em-
ployes furnish police with general

William Petre, bank clerk, 9011
Bucckeye road S.E. In serious con-
dition with buckshot wounds in
chest and abdomen.

C.H. Maxseiner, barber. Bedford,
wounded in hand by two of bandits

Twinsburg Banking Company

Twinsburg’s first bank opened on November 11, 1912. On that morning its first president arrived to find a leading citizen, A.J. Brown, waiting for him so he could have the honor of opening the first account at the bank for his grandson. J.C. Leland Brown. His account was still active when the Twinsburg Banking Company published the story of their first 50 years in 1962.

Twinsburg Banking Booklet Celebrating their 50th Anniversary from 1912-1962